Callis, Davis Continue Battle
In 13th Congressional District
By Paul Osborne
With Election Day on Tuesday, candidates in the 13th Congressional District race are using all of their energy and resources to win. According to a poll conducted by his campaign last month, Republican Congressman Rodney Davis was leading former Madison County Chief Judge Ann Callis by 19 points. The 13th Congressional District was targeted as a top-tier race at the beginning of the long campaign, but even recent Democratic polling results resulted in The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s super PAC pulling its advertising buys, not only in the 13th District but in several congressional districts around the country where Democratic candidates were not doing well. In essence, the DCCC had given up hope of unseating Davis and some other targeted races. Davis, who is running for his second term, told the Decatur Tribune that he is confident of winning, but not over-confident. He said he is taking nothing for granted in this race. Callis, who indicated the DCCC’s action was not a “high point” in her campaign also indicated that it caused her to redouble her efforts in the campaign to unseat Davis. During another interview at the Decatur Tribune last week, Callis said that she is in the campaign for the right reasons and she appears to be more energized than at any other time during the long campaign. “I have dedicated my professional life to public service,” she said. “I think that all of the programs and initiatives I was able to start in Madison County, including the court reforms that were difficult to do, and I got on the wrong side of my party, but doing them was the right thing to do.” With two debates over and another debate Thursday night (Oct. 30) Callis said she feels the final debate is very important, but, most important of all will be the turnout on election day. “We see that all of our efforts in our ground game are starting to pay off and the turnout on election day is the key.” While Callis said what she is hearing most, from the people she talks with in the district, is the need for jobs, and jobs training. She stressed that job creation and job training are high priorities in what she will work on if elected. National Security Is On Everybody’s Mind
Davis said that “national security” is the topic on everybody’s mind when he talks with people. Whether it is Ebola or ISIS, “people are fearful that decisions are not being made when it comes to foreign policy that are going to result in victory for the American people.” Davis said that he stood with President Obama on his plan to bomb ISIS in Iraq and Syria. However, Davis added that he hopes the President will listen to his military leaders on the course of action against ISIS. “I stand willing and ready to work with the administration and our military leaders on the plan to defeat ISIS,” said Davis. “We have to defeat ISIS. ISIS cannot be allowed to get a foothold in Iraq and Syria.” He also hears concerns from people in his district about the problems of Ebola and if this administration really has control of it. “The President assured the American people that Ebola would not come to America and now we have it.“There’s a lot of frustration out there and I hope the people of Central Illinois don’t throw their hands up in the air and give up. They can make a difference on election day. “The President is not on the ballot again, but he is the one who said his policies are on the ballot. “He is on the ballot because it is about the president’s leadership, or lack thereof, in many cases. I think this leads the American people to say we, at least, want Congress, the House and hopefully, the Senate, to continue to lead on foreign affairs. “Both parties in Washington believe in American exceptionalism. We believe that we should be proud of who we are and what we can accomplish when America stands strong as a leader in the free world. “I don’t believe that we, as Americans, need to offer apologies. We need to work with our allies, and help them, but we have to make these decisions much more quickly and forcefully.”
Fight For District
Callis talks of jobs and expansion projects that have been lost inside the 13th District because the fight to keep them was not strong enough, in some cases. “I will fight with everything I have to keep jobs and expansion in this district,” she said. “Decatur is a great community and we need those jobs here.” As far as the minimum wage, Callis said she has met people in her campaign that are working two and three jobs, while trying to better themselves and “they are falling further and further behind.” “There are a lot of pieces to the puzzle that move a community forward. “Also I think there is a lot of opportunity, especially in Decatur, for the apprenticeship program. We have some good ones at the community college but we could really expand on those with cooperative efforts. “We want our students to graduate with great skills and be able to find good jobs with a liveable wage. “I think there are opportunities in high school, too, since vocational training has been cut. “Let’s cooperate to get apprenticeship programs back in high school.”
The President’s Policies While Callis talks of issues affecting the job market in Decatur and the 13 District, Davis continues to beat the drum about the failed policies of President Obama and what he (Davis) has been able to accomplish during his first two years in office. “I think this election will be a barometer of President Obama’s policies and I hope the people of Central and Southern Illinois will send me back to be that check and balance,” he said. “I came here as a candidate two years ago in a very short race and I talked about being somebody who is not just a Republican, but somebody who understands that, once I am elected, I am being sent to Washington to govern. “I campaigned on the need to put a long-term farm policy in place. I not only had the opportunity to write that bill but had the opportunity to sit around the table when it was being put together in a bipartisan, common sense solution, and I got to help shepherd that bill through Congress. “Not only was I a conference committee member on the farm bill, but I was also trusted by many of my colleagues to sit on the conference committee that finalized our water infrastructure bill, which had been held up due to partisan politics. “I was the only member of the House of Representatives to serve on both of those conference committees. “I think it shows that I have lived up to my commitment to govern, and to govern in such a way that I may take political hits, but it is what’s most important for leaders of both parties in Washington to do.”
Callis: About Commitment
When asked why people should vote for her, Callis said: “I have a real commitment and desire to serve. That’s what I am about. I have just fallen in love with the communities in this district. There isn’t a hand I wouldn’t shake or a door that I wouldn’t knock on to help the people in this district move in a positive direction. “I think that’s the big difference between me and Mr. Davis, who is a political insider, and that has manifested itself during the debates we’ve had. and the way he tries to campaign. “My children are my inspiration. Sometimes I will get a little emotional during the debate because I will talk about why my son and daughter inspire me. “I knew when I decided to run I would be personally and professionally attacked. I knew that my record as a judge would be twisted and trashed, and it is happening. “Still, I don’t regret seeking to be your next Congressman for a moment because my path in life is in public service.” Callis said she realizes there is an anti-incumbent feeling among voters in this election, but “We’ll have to wait and see how that works out. We will know the evening of the fourth (election day).” Davis said his campaign for re-election is different for him than any previous campaign -- because he has had to campaign and govern at the same time. The campaign has gone on forever. On Tuesday, it will finally end and the winner will be known (hopefully).
firstname.lastname@example.org or to: Decatur Tribune, P. O. Box 1490, Decatur, IL 62525-1490. * * * * The photo at the top of this page is of the 300 block of North Water Street.